Fall fishing tip for walleyes and crappies: First find food, and the predatory gamefish will be nearby
It’s that time of year again, the leaves are falling and so are the temperatures. The lakes are cooling and that triggers a piscatorial feeding frenzy. Want to find fish? Use your electronics to locate schools of baitfish around humps and points that fall off into much deeper water.
Troll around these spots in 15 to 40 feet of water in a zig-zag pattern looking for clouds of baitfish. You can cover quite a bit of water by traveling at about 6 miles and hour or so. After finding batifish, slow down a bit, then search for larger marks near the bottom for walleyes. If you are seeing suspended fish, there’s a good chance you are viewing crappies. Crappies can be in schools, but can also be scattered throughout the water column.
Don’t get stuck fishing a particular depth. Early in the morning, we’ll find fish up in and near the weed lines, but they’ll tend to push out deep as the sun rises. Then later in the day they push right back up towards the weeds. Make sure to move with the fish to stay productive.
I start fishing fast with No. 7 Jig Raps picking off the most aggressive fish in the school, then drop down to a No. 5. Or slow it down to a jig and minnow or jig and plastic to finesse some of the more reluctant biters.
Don’t get stuck fishing for marks that won’t bite. If you have caught a few fish but can’t trigger anymore biters, move on and locate more active fish around similar structure.
Lakes are cooling fast, but given the recent warm spell, we still have lots of days left to fish before we see any ice. Get out there and fish!
Good luck fishing and stay safe!